Tracing the roots of horror



The news of the beach killings in Tunisia yesterday was truly horrifying: nearly 40 innocent people on holiday,  shot dead by a gunman. If anything more horrible, news of the beheading of a man near Lyons, with his head stuck on a fence. And in a mosque in Kuwait, more than 25 people killed as they prayed. All in one day. This truly was terrorism at work: the killing of innocent people in an attempt to intimidate  populations and have them force their governments to sue for peace.

But hold on. The beach killings in Tunisia – why do they disgust us so? Is because the victims are so like ourselves?  One Irish person dead, several British dead. They were enjoying a holiday, lying on the beach, going for a swim: so many of us can identify with that. That fact brings the fear particularly close, and our condemnation of the killings more heart-felt.

Then there’s the barbaric killing of the man near Lyons, carried out by his own employee. Not just killed but decapitated and his head displayed. It’s odd how that mutilation and age-old barbaric practice of a head-on-a-pole nauseates us – as it’s intended to do. Even though, once you’re dead, what happens to your body cannot make the slightest difference to you.

And the killing of the 25+ people at prayer in Kuwait: could there be a more stark contrast between people engaged in the gentleness of worship and people engaged in brutality of war?

The one thing you will not hear in the many reports and discussions of these incidents is a reasoned analysis as to why this is happening, other than that these are evil, barbaric people who hate us because we are non-believers. But is that the sole reason these terrorists detest the West?

Over a five-year period,  under President Obama’s watch, more than 2,400 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been killed by drone strikes. That’s almost a thousand times as many as died in Kuwait yesterday. According to a report put together by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and  Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW),  somewhere between 100,000 and 170,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan since Western intervention there. The Iraq Body Count project figures that  between 112,000- 123,000 innocent Iraqis  were killed between 2003 and 2013.

Could all those killings by Western forces, who fly half-way round the world to do their lethal work (or in the case of drones, sit in a bunker and press a button) , have anything to do with yesterday’s killings?  Of course they have. Except that we hear little or nothing about them through our media, and when we do it is never in the gruesome detail we hear when there are attacks like those inflicted yesterday. We know what we’re doing, we know that’s why the horror of yesterday’s attacks happened, yet all we think of is how to protect ourselves, how to neuter the enemy, rather than remove the reasons for their attacks.

The old saying was never truer:  one death is a tragedy; a hundred thousand deaths are just a statistic.

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10 Responses to Tracing the roots of horror

  1. Peadar Ó Cathasaigh June 27, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    As a practicing Irish Muslim I condemn these evil acts of terrorism. Terrorism or hirabah is totally against the teaching of God in his holy book the Qur’an. In the Qur’an 5:32 it says, “… Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.” There is justification in the Qur’an for these depraved acts of terrorism. Simply put, to respond to acts of terror from countries of the West with acts of terror is not only wrong but sinful. Ameen.

  2. PeterW. June 27, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    Very well said Jude but you didn’t mention Israel tooled up for the slaughter of thousands by the US to the tune of billions of dollars aswell as ignoring every act of terror and murder that they carry out.

  3. Wolfe tone June 27, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    Aye good old ISIS. They are so unstoppable they have butchered Muslims by the hundreds and show no fear of the western interference in their activities. From opening hotels to operating the oil trade the west can’t seem to halt them. Despite all their ingenuity they only seem to target those countries that tend to have a gripe with the west. You’d think they would wanna help these countries in their battle with their alleged enemy ie the west? You would think this force would be ready to storm Israel at any time now they are that powerful lol? Anyone would think ISIS are ‘useful idiots’ of the west but that’s just ridiculous isn’t it? The CIA etc wouldn’t be that callous and devious. Just like MI5 weren’t callous and devious here in Ireland. Anybody who thinks they set up useful idiots like UVF etc to do their dirty work is simply crackers!

  4. Iolar June 27, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    Your comments are spot on. The violence visited on innocent civilians in Tunisa was an outrage and without justification.

    The repercussions of military intervention and ‘collateral damage’ in various theatres of conflict suggest we are, ‘on the eve of destruction’. We regularly read about young people being ‘radicalized’ yet seldom hear much about state sponsored mercenaries who appear to revel in combat of their own making. We seldom hear much about the vast profits made by corporations and individuals as a result of arms proliferation throughout the world. The refugee crisis at Calais is evidence of a ‘shoot first and ask questions later approach’ in the Middle East. All the indicators are for more of the same from would be presidents in a no expense spared rush to the White House,

  5. Séamus Ó Néill June 27, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    I am not a ” Conspiracy Theorist ” , but when the real truth emerges about 9/11 and the possible use of ” Thermite or Thermate ” we will then understand the Wests and especially America’s true reason for destabilizing the whole Middle East . Saudi Arabia and Israel are complicit in this and while this madness continues you will have more of the same and probably in greater severity !

  6. Perkin Warbeck June 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Your blog today, Esteemed Blogmeister, while reminding one of something at the same time, and even simultaneously did not remind one of something else.

    What it did not remind one of was the all too unpredictable response of the purchased Free Southern Stateen Media – which oddly enough did not in its rush to condemn pause for to suss out the cause or causes, as it normally does. Preferring in this instance the all too easy option of baring their jaws and sinking their claws into – who else ?- the Towel Heads.

    Normally the same bought channels of communication are models of the measured response but in the unexpected and rare event of there being actually an Irish victim among the casualty list, perhaps they must be excused their haste in this instance.


    Surely, a once off. And understandable with ‘one of our own’ involved. We, the citizenry of the FSS, are more like a family than a mere nation, in times of tragedy. We know that because we continually tell ourselves so in our constant ‘conversations’ with ourselves. Alone.

    Thus, this morning, Brendan O Connor, who is sitting in for the Dame of Dispassionate Broadcasting, Ms. M.. Finucane on one of her all too frequent but richly deserved Saturday Sabbaticals from RTE, came out with the charmingly original phrase ‘fundamental Muslims’ in his opening line.

    Ole Scrunchy Face (which he can do nothing about) – as he is affectionately known by his colleagues in his Sun dayjob on the Dependent – with his whingy Murph-bingy Leeside accent (which he can, but seemingly prefers not to) has a good track record in confronting fundamentalists.

    One example will suffice: when he had as his guest, one Bernard Dunne, the leprechaun- speaking world champion super bantamweight , on his critically acclaimed and more recently-axed Saturday Night Show. And in the great tradition of the hospitable host chose to politely poleaxe his guest with his very first question. It was almost as if he was putting future bad ideas into his own paymaster’s head.

    -Bernard, tell me this and tell me no more: what’s a nice guy like you doing with such a bunch of fundamentalist bigots like the Gaeilgeoiri ?

    No wonder the following headline almost appeared: ‘Scrunchy leaves Boxer feeling punchy’.

    For Brendan O Connor is diametrically opposed to fundamentalists – whether they be of the Towel wearing on their Heads types or the Aran Crios on their Waists variety.In this he is a model Sundamentalist who makes a neat packet out of taking whacks at the bigots who take the fun out of fundamentalism. Indeed, one understands, their very packet is totally dependent on this very whacking in DOBland.

    The other something which your blog today did actually remind one of, Esteemed Blogmeister was an encounter Perkie once had in the GPO of Tripoli, Libya. Sometime in the mid Seventies – the shiny new posters of the local Cuchullain were still fresh on the interior walls: that of Setanta Gadaffi himself.

    Well, a recurring encounter, on his once a week visit to the GPO in q. where the queues were long and the time was short. Invariably, one would not be long standing in line, when one would feel the tap on one’s shoulder.

    -Hey, foreigner.

    (So much for Perkie’s perma-tan and designer Dublin stubble !).

    Followed by: a practised tirade in a mixture of broken English and geometrical Arabic , three words of which were almost sure to bob up and break the surface at regular intervals: The Balfour Declaration.

    The wha’ ?

    -The Balfour Declaration.

    It was the one phrase in the Q’s English which the Palestinian (and Palestinian it surely was, for Tripoli was awash with same at the time) was able to enunciate to perfection. Practice etc.

    This was, as one has pointed out, the mid-Seventies and Perkie was still ‘a brain-washed product of the Christian Brothers’, to use a fetching phrase first coined by then Minister of Posts and Daily Telegraphs in the FSS, Conor Cruise O’ Goebbels. As a non product of the bigoted Brothers CCOG of course was not brain-washed.

    (Q in the Q’s English: what is the opposite of ‘brain-washed’? ‘filthy-minded’? Shiver one’s timbres !)

    This being the pre-laptop and indeed, lapdog epoch when the Great God Google had yet to fashion the Great Internet Super Highway it took Perkie’s inner card-carrying member of Densa a goodly number of Arabian Nights to suss out that this Balfour, I declare, was none other the exact same Balfour that the brain-washing Brothers had somehow not glossed over.

    So, what exactly was it about this Balfour Declaration which so exercised the Palestinians of one’s kus-kus ladling days?

    -Bloody ‘ell !

    Yes, that Balfour !!

    Still not sure what it was about this BD which so got their black and white keffiyehs in a twist. All that Balfour was declaring back in 1917 was the handing over to the civilised Zionists the Palestinian homelands, lock, stock and double-barrelled long-range guns.

    All done with the intention of currying favour with Woodrow Wilson’s closest Zionist advisers as a shark-winged dodge to get Uncle Sam in on the side on Blighty against the Huns. A sort of land-based Lusitania-type dodge, you might say.

    Trivial stuff, really. But then, these moany Gaza types are not known as the GAAza for nothing.

    To conclude on yet another Scrunchy O’Connor note: he has now moved on to another issue which – well, whaddyaknow ! – was also a crunch issue for C. C. O’Goebbels back in the (gulp) Seventies: the ringing of the Angelus Bells.

    And his guest being the newest gent on the block, RTE’s very own pet Atheist, one Michael Nugent.

    Mirabile dictu, no bolt of lightning to smite the mighty Mike by way of a opener.

    Could it be, perchance / an amhlaidh gurb amhlaidh MN’s a fundamentalist who keeps the ‘fun’ in situ?

    That must be it: the versatile Michael Nugent is also , and no better Atheist to swear by it, on the board of Bohemians, the bankrupt FC of the slum-like Dalymount Park, a job, if ever there was one, where a sense of humour is not just de rigeur but even de facto itself. If not, de jure, day and night.

    And the smile on his unseen dial as evidenced by the chuckle in his every other focal?

    Could it be something to do, perchance, with the near 4 million squids recently nicked from the taxpayers’ back pocket by the even-handed Dublin City Council and put into the sporran of Bohs?

    Ca fios, ca fios ?

  7. cararua June 27, 2015 at 3:09 pm #


    It is hard not to come to the conclusion that the government of the USA are bullying the governments of the rest of the world with threats of economic sanctions, withdrawing investments, reclassifying a nations creditor status / interest repayment rate or military intervention. If the USA behaved in a way which was fair and impartial then the situation would not be as bad but you only have to look at how many times they misused their UN veto to block and action or criticism of the outrageous behaviour of the Israeli government in implementing its apartheid regime and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people to realise that the USA government has no shame in acting unfairly.

    I think it is everyone’s duty to speak up about the injustices of the elite in western society which are inflicted on weaker nations but I think you have to very careful in drawing an analogy between one group of hateful racist physcopaths and the unjust and I humane actions of western governments. In Tunisia these wing nuts just murdered anyone on the beech who was white or dressed in western bikinis/ beachwear. In Syria, Iraq and North Africa Isis & Al Shabab murder Gays, Christians, Jews, Shia Muslims or anyone who does not adopt their extremist ideology. Hardly a reaction against Western injustice!

  8. Emmet June 28, 2015 at 1:49 am #

    I think rational thought is disappearing from mainstream media and public discussion in general. Intelligence agency spin and hysteria has led to anyone who questions the inequality in the world being labelled a terrorist sympathiser. This article is refreshing.

    What are the things that could drive Muslims to terrorism (Terrorists aren’t born they are made):

    1. Anti-Muslim hysteria among the press
    2. American ‘Crusades’ (George Bush) in the middle east.
    3. Drone Strikes
    4. Toppling of anti-western governments- often by supporting anti government fundamentalists (Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt)
    5. Supply of arms to and ignoring of war crimes by Israel
    6. Western assassination of people on a list (I am not sure who made the list or why the individuals are listed)

    I know there will be many more. Until these issues are addressed we will continue to suffer attacks. Much of the things listed above are also acts of terrorism carried out on behalf of the people of Britain, America, Australia and the the other ‘coalition’ members. Until ‘terrorism’ is removed from the western tool box it will continue to grow.

  9. ANOTHER JUDE June 28, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

    Peoplie have made a lot of very good points on this site, again, for what it is worth my take is as follows.

    1. Seeing as a lot of the idelogy behind IS and the likes originates from countries like Saudi Arabia you would think the `west` would put a little heat on them?

    2. Human rights are a joke in countries like Saudi Arabia, so why did David Cameron and Prince Charles go toadying to their leaders recently?

    3. Britain and the other western nations messed up the places where IS and the like operate, they helped cause the problem. I don`t remember hearing much about them when Gaddaffi and Saddam were alive.

    4. We hear an awful lot about young people leaving Britain to fight for IS, what the likes of the British really mean is, do not fight unless we pay you and give you a uniform and weapons and tell you which side to fight for. When you come home you`ll be a hero not a terrorist.

    5. There IS a certain level of Islamaphobia in the British media but it is not a patch on the virulent insulting anti Irish bigotrty we faced during the conflict here. Also I don`t envisage the British laws of succession being amended to exclude `towel heads and sand niggers` from becoming head of state, such words are probably on the same level of hatred as `papists and romanists` as currently enshrined in British law.

    6. I do think IS are allowed to operate by the west, for whatever warped reason I do not know.